What's wine90 doing a Chenin Blanc tasting for? Well, multiple reasons. Firstly, to support the good old peeps at Red Nose Day, secondly because my exp of Chenin Blanc as an Italian wino leaves a lot to be desired and thirdly, it was a Thursday. And?
Here I am, being very supportive of the Red Nose White but unfortunately the wine really was a one dimensional glugger but for £5 and a S.A Chenin Blanc was I really expecting something better? I think the face says it all. This wine actually outperformed the Pecan Stream Chenin Blanc, which at twice the price, was abysmal and one of the worst wines I've had this year.
So, lets talk about Chenin Blanc then.
Finding its best expression in the Loire valley, Chenin Blanc is a grape capable of making a variety of wines in many styles. A grape of high acidity you can find Chenin sparklers, dessert wines and regular still wines. Chenin is a tricky little guy to cultivate and begs for low yields. This is what it gets in the Loire valley with crop yields governed by AOC regulations to be no higher than 45hl/ha even in standard Anjou bottlings. So, perhaps it wasn't really surprising then, that of the 5 Chenin Blancs that made their way to the tasting panel... that's me and the wine sleuth... the Loire Chenins made a clean sweep.
Sadly, all the wines brought to the table were dry and not a thing from Vouvray or Coteaux du Layon but we did get to taste a Samur which just edged out the Anjou "Chateau de la Guimoniere" to be my favourite Chenin of the night.
As you can see, there wasn't only Chenin on the table so after the formalities of the Chenin evening (which took a lot out of me I can tell you) we moved onto to happier places, a nice 2004 Savigny les Beaune and a zappy little Zin, the Frogs Leap 2005.
*takes deep breath*..... AND TASTING NOTES TIME.
La Grille Classic Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2007 - BUY - £8 - 3rd place
A pale straw yellow with obvious green glints. On the nose the wine has a nut, apricot and green apple profile but it's on the palate where this wine really satisfies with razor sharp acidity, great balance and a long clean finish. Notes of peach on the palate. 87 Points
Saam Mountain Red Nose White Chenin Blanc 2008 - BUY - £5 - 4th place
Pale straw yellow in the glass, a dull faded, "dole" tropical fruit nose with pineapple and mango showing, good weight to the wine, a mid bodied effort. Ok acidity and vegetal on the finish but really not a bad effort for the money. One dimensional, a bit like an alcoholic Lilt but drinkable. 82 Points
Chateau de la Guimonière Chenin Blanc 2005 - BUY - £9 - 2nd place
Dark straw yellow with vibrant fresh tropical fruits on the nose. A creamy mid bodied wine with some noticable nutty notes on the palate, good acidity and structure with a lingering powerful finish. Top Chenin, 89 Points
Pecan Strean Chenin Blanc 2006 - PASS - £10 - 5th place
Golden straw yellow, not particularly aromatic but when it finally comes regular tropical notes ensue. Really lacking in fruit, mid bodied, off point, and unpleasantly green throughout. 77 Points
Les Andides Samur 2007 - BUY - £6 - 1st place
A mid straw yellow, this wine is bursting with fresh tropical aromas on the nose, even with hints of kiwi. Super tight and crisp acidity with a citrus palate, coating mouthfeel with an aspagus note on the end. 89 Points
Where can I buy these wines?
All available at Waitrose exlucing the Chateau de la Guimonière which is available at Winerack.
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Favourite Chenin regions? Favourite Chenin wine? Suprised at these results?